1961-63 Ford Econoline Truck, Front Driver Side
(Image/OnAllCylinders – Paul Sakalas)

If you’ve never heard the terms “cab-over” or “forward-control,” don’t worry—you don’t have to turn in your gearhead credentials.

Check out today’s Ford Econoline truck and learn ’ya something. Unlike a traditional pickup, the Econoline’s passenger compartment sits on top of the engine. This configuration improved the driver’s vision up front, while shortening the truck’s overall length without compromising cargo space. Cab-over (engine) and forward-control were common nicknames for this setup.

These designs rose to prominence in the 1960s. Chevy, Dodge, and Jeep offered similar forward-control trucks, which were typically based on existing van architecture.

With changing Federal crash standards, cab-overs and forward-controls in the consumer market evaporated by the mid-1970s. (A noisy, hot cabin and a tricky front weight bias didn’t help either.) The configuration is still very common however, in commercial trucks and construction equipment.

We think this particular Econoline is from 1961-63, before Ford switched to larger bumpers front and back. It’s also a fancy five-window version, which gave the pilot house much more visibility all around.

It’s got a cool work-truck vibe, with a flat black paint job over a straight and rust-free body. In the interior, you can see the “doghouse” where (presumably) a Ford 144, 170, or 240 cubic inch inline-six engine lives.

1961-63 Ford Econoline Grille
The Econoline truck shared front-end styling with its stablemate the Econoline van.
1961-63 Ford Econoline Bed
The two rear wraparound windows were optional, but added a ton of visibility from the cab.
1961-63 Ford Econoline Bed
It’s all business out back, with a well-worn (yet cared for) bed and tailgate.
1961-63 Ford Econoline Dash
The forward-control view gives the driver excellent visibility up front.
1961-63 Ford Econoline Doghouse
See that hump between the seats? That’s the “doghouse” where the engine lives.
1961-63 Ford Econoline, Front Passenger Side
(All Images/OnAllCylinders – Paul Sakalas)
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Author: Paul Sakalas

Paul is the editor of OnAllCylinders. When he's not writing, you'll probably find him fixing oil leaks in a Jeep CJ-5 or roof leaks in an old Corvette ragtop. Thanks to a penchant for vintage Honda motorcycles, he spends the rest of his time fiddling with carburetors and cleaning chain lube off his left pant leg.